How are Democrats supposed to shake this internally divisive energy/climate issue? The Post complains that Keystone is a “trumped up” battle, but the movement that turned Keystone into an issue is perfectly capable of “trumping up” yet another Armageddon, and another after that. Bill McKibben and his allies demand a swift end to America’s use of fossil fuels. If and when Keystone fades as an issue, they’re bound to draw another line in the sand. Having secured backing from the New York Times for their Keystone campaign, these folks are not about to stop.
Should Obama say no to Keystone, McKibben and his allies will be further emboldened. If Obama says yes, the administration will redouble anti-carbon regulation in other areas, which will keep our new energy culture war at a boil. Given Obama’s recent moves on the climate front, the idea that the divisive campaign against fossil-fuels is going away is already fading.
Consider the fundamentals. Our economy runs on fossil fuels, yet an ever-growing number of Democrats at the heart of Obama’s base are literally convinced that the world is coming to an end because of it. This rapidly proliferating movement of Democratic voters has a near-religious determination to choke off the fuel that drives America’s economic engine. Each side of the Democratic split apparently sees the other as Dr. Evil, and at least one side is willing to reach across state lines to make the point. To understand this is to recognize that the Democrats’ political problem will not disappear after Keystone. It will only get worse.